Background According to the Childhood Bereavement Network, a parent of children under 18 dies every 22 min in the UK. This kind of loss is particularly painful and it seems to play a vital role in educational underachievement, truanting, concentration difficulties, social problems and mental health difficulties. Winston’s Wish supports children to recognise, understand and manage their feelings and behaviours in relation to their grief. With an onus on rigorous evaluation of a specific project with the Big Lottery, this study examined the outcomes of bereavement support for children and young people one month after the end of the intervention.
Methods The study explored if a brief support intervention after a death in the family can have immediate positive effects on children’s well-being. Data was provided before the intervention and one month after its completion. Participants (n=156) completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).
Results The most common cause of death was accident or illness (94%). A comparison of the pre- and post-intervention scores showed a reduction for children’s peer relationship difficulties, emotional difficulties, overall stress, behavioural difficulties and impact of difficulties on the child’s life.
Conclusions Constructive change was reported for all the areas measured. The study showed that when needed, bereavement interventions may have direct positive effects for children. It is important that every bereaved child has access to support as and when they need it.
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